Long before Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta considered dropping out of NYU and changing her name to Lady Gaga, Madonna Louise Ciccone left the University of Michigan for New York City with $35 in her pocket and a raw talent that would take her from being just another girl from the Midwest to one of pop music’s most iconic figures. During her career, which spans over 25 years, Madonna has kept relevant by keeping up with society’s ever changing mood. From being a Boy Toy in the 80’s, to Voguing in the 90’s, and becoming the poster child for Kabbalah, no decade is complete without an accompying Madonna trend to define it.
Before Madonna was a lady, she was a Boy Toy. Her totally 80’s bleached hair, lace tops, tons of jewelry, and signature leggings under skirts was the look adopted by teenage girls the world over. By the time she rolled on the floor at the first ever MTV Video Music Awards in September of 1984, her provocative, edgy look had already reached icon status. While boning up on my Madonna trivia for this piece by watching my fave Madge movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, I couldn’t help but notice how big an influence 80’s Madonna has had on current fashion trends, most notably lace leggings. To throw my 2 cents in, 80’s Madonna is and will always be my favorite Madonna no matter what anyone says.
By the late 80s-early 90s Madonna, who by now was in her 30s, began to clean up her look but not her act. After spending the late 80’s kicking up controversy with her video for Like a Prayer, and having countless hit singles and two movies under her belt, Madonna brought in the 90s starring opposite Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy and bringing the term Voguing into our vocabulary. Gone were her days of being a naïve boy toy, Madonna was now a glamorous, full grown woman in full control of her sexuality as evidenced by her fifth studio album, Erotica-produced under her new label Maverick, and her coffee table bookSex, photographed by Steven Meisel. Vogue Madonna with all of her blonde ambition, tongue and cheek approach to sex, and old Hollywood glamour was the perfect choice to take Evita from the stage to the big screen. All you wannbe pop stars take a few cues from 90’s Madonna, who after her over sexed antics ticked off critics and fans alike took some time away from the spotlight, found religion and once again reinvented herself.
After giving birth to her mini me, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, and finding Kabbalah, Madonna threw out her cone bras and underwear as outerwear and traded them in for jeans, plaid shirts, and a British accent. Refusing to fade like most pop stars her age, Madonna released more albums full of dance friendly beats that simultaneously explored her new religious views-she also changed her name to Esther which never stuck. If 80’s Madonna with her bleached and teased hair is my favorite Madonna, Ray of Light Madonna, with her stint as a witchy Geisha in her video for Frozen, is my second favorite Madonna. I’m also in love with her videos for Don’t Tell Me and What it Feels Like For a Girl, which were products of her newly enlightened, mama phase. When talking mama Madonna, you can’t not mention her VMA performance with Britney and Christina, where she officially took her seat as the mother of blond, bubblegum pop by reenacting her 1984 performance and kissing both Britney and Christina.
What is a woman to do after she’s pissed off the Pope, taken her throne as the queen of pop, given birth, and popularized a religion? If that woman is Madonna, she keeps it moving. After such a long career that has literally spanned my entire lifetime, Madonna seems to be going strong despite the fact that she’s practically menopausal in an industry that values youth above all. She started the leotard as an outfit trend before Beyonce put a ring on it, been the face of Versace, Louis Vuitton and D&G, had her own dedicated episode of Glee, and is launching her own clothing line, with all that and then some it’s safe to say Madonna isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Need proof of Madonna’s awesomeness, I don’t know why or how since most of you grew up with her, peep these videos.
*FYI, I’ve linked all the songs mentioned throughout the post to thier videos because choosing one or two to display was not an option.
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- Madonna’s Give Me All Your Luvin’ (Feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj) Official Video
- My Two Cents: Madonna For Louis Vuitton’s Spring Campaign
- Fashion Meets Music: Janet Jackson
- Carine Roitfeld – CNN Interview
- NYC: Strike a Pose, Tomorrow Night!!